This is part of a DIY education project I’ve undertaken called The 1000-Day MFA that I learned about from writer Shaunta Grimes. You can read more about how I’m engaging with it here. By the way, there might be no rhyme or reason to how I choose the poems, essays, and short stories. Or they might have a theme. But basically, I just throw my net out to the world, and read whatever I catch.
Poem: The Man on the Phone by Tom Kimmel
Essay: The Unmarked Door, by Michael Ventura
Short Story: Shine, by Jodi Picoult
The Man on the Phone: Sometimes, it takes an an animal to give us a peek into our parents' hearts.
The Unmarked Door: This essay comes from a collection of essays by Michael Ventura called Letters at 3am: Reports on Endarkenment. He had a column with the Austin Chronicle for over twenty years (sadly it ended in 2014), and these were curated from that body of work. The book was in the reading list during my studies at Bastyr University for my B.S. in Applied Behavioral Science. He looks us square in the face and tells us the truth.
The Unmarked Door speaks about the altars we create, unconsciously and almost by accident, and the place they hold in the deepest corners of our lives.
Shine: A story that examines racism through the eyes of a precocious, African American third-grader who's the only one of her kind in a progressive Upper East Side elementary school. Not sure how I feel about this one. Still letting it marinate.
But it's interesting to read these things as a writer. Watching Picoult use techniques I'm learning to implement, noticing when I stopped noticing and just got lost in the story. Then I went back to see how that happened. Very fun work.